Tech accelerator Capital Factory, which recently expanded in Austin, is breaking into Dallas.
The tech incubator, seed-investment fund and co-working space has teamed up with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center to connect members in both groups with mentors, investors and new business opportunities.
Members of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, known as the DEC, will have access to Capital Factory entrepreneurs and investors and can participate in hackathons and investment competitions. Austin members, meanwhile, can use the DEC space and participate in events and networking there.
Entrepreneurs in both cities can also use Skype to get advice from mentors on issues like fundraising, recruiting, technology, intellectual property, sales and marketing.
“Dallas has big companies up there that we don’t have down here, and they’re companies that our startups could be working with,” said Joshua Baer, executive director of Capital Factory. “We’re not franchising our program, we’re duplicating it. We’re running one program and we just don’t actually care where you sleep at night.”
Baer said partnering with the DEC, which is in Dallas’ West End, will help Austin founders looking for funding.
“We like to complain that there aren’t enough investors in Austin. There are plenty of investors in Texas, they’re just not investing in tech companies, they’re investing in oil and gas and real estate,” he said. “By tying the cities together, we can expose those investors to more tech opportunities and get more capital flowing within Texas instead of just trying to attract capital from outside of Texas.”
Austin startups can also use the DEC to tap into Dallas’ tech labor pool, he said.
“Some of our companies already have offices here and in the DEC,” Baer said, citing Austin startup Conversable, which sells automated, conversational software as one example.
Conversable CEO Ben Lamm said in a statement that “having offices in both Austin and Dallas is a competitive advantage that lets us attract the best talent and sell into all of the large businesses based in Texas.”
Baer launched Capital Factory in 2008, and the downtown accelerator has grown steadily since then. Last year, it hosted more than 800 events including pitch competitions, panels and networking parties.
In May, Capital Factory added a new 10,000 square-foot event and VR space on the ground floor of the Omni Building. The new space is in addition to the fifth and 16th floors of the Omni that Capital Factory already occupies, bringing its total footprint to 60,000 square feet.
About 1,000 members currently lease co-working space on the upper floors.
Capital Factory has also partnered with corporations looking to tap into Austin’s tech talent pool. In June, pharmaceutical and life sciences company Merck KGaA opened an innovation center at Capital Factory to leverage Austin’s virtual reality labor market.
The DEC is a nonprofit co-working space that focuses on helping entrepreneurs launch, build and grow their startups. It has nine locations across Texas and works with founders in urban, suburban and rural communities.
“We believe that by partnering with Capital Factory, we can combine the strengths of both ecosystems for the success of entrepreneurs across the state,” said Trey Bowles, CEO of the DEC.
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